Studies have shown time and again that being in nature helps to calm us, helps us to focus and is just plain essential to happiness. From taking a lap around a park to a trek through the woods, getting out and seeing some green does us a world of good.
We've written before about the Walkonomics app, which helps you find the best route for getting from point A to B based on walkability. The app takes into account things like safety, ease of crossing and even hilliness. It now has a new version that lets you find the path that puts you closest to nature, or more specifically, has the most trees, so that you can add a little nature immersion to your day-to-day travels.
The app currently covers seven cities, including London (central), Paris, New York (all boroughs), San Francisco, Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Glasgow and this new upgrade was inspired by the walks developer Adam Davies took when his son was first born.
"When he was a newborn baby, I was often taking him out in the pram, and he really liked tree-lined areas. Whenever he wasn't seeing trees, he was crying. So, I was thinking it would be useful to know where all the trees are in the local area," Davies says.
So, he added a new algorithm to the app that finds the leafiest paths.
"Parks and tree-filled streets are like magnets to the algorithm. It's like having a friend who's obsessed with trees," he says.
The app uses open-source data like city tree maps and aerial photos of urban canopies to find the tree-lined routes. When using the app, you can put in your destination then use a slider to choose between "beautiful" and "fast." The most beautiful result may take longer, but will give you the most tree exposure; choose fast and you'll have the quickest route to where you're going, with maybe just a few trees.
The app also has a new feature that lets you find the best five-minute walk from any starting point and also highlights bars and restaurants along the way.
Watch more about the new version of the app below.